unctad.org | Stakeholder Awareness Meeting: Stakeholders’ Perspectives on VSS, Sustainable Development and Bio-economy
Stakeholder Awareness Meeting: Stakeholders’ Perspectives on VSS, Sustainable Development and Bio-economy
06 - 07 November 2019
Sheraton Pretoria Hotel
Pretoria, South Africa

Key Issues

​The United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards (UNFSS)

In 2013, five UN agencies joined forces to establish the UNFSS based on existing mandates, activities and different expertise of the participating agencies. The aim was to enhance developing countries' participation in international dialogues on Sustainability Standards. Since its inception, the key objective was to increase transparency through dialogue and conferences globally.

UNFSS is an initiative of 5 UN Agencies - FAO, UNIDO, ITC, UN Environment and UNCTAD is the secretariat.


The Stakeholder Meeting

The Stakeholder Meeting is co-organized by the German Development Insittute (DIE), UNFSS and South African Bureau of Standards (SABS). 

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, also referred to as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognizes international trade as an engine for inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction. Standards that uphold not just the quality of products but considers also the sustainability aspects of the production process can be the key not only for exporters to unlock new markets, but also to enhance competitiveness in the domestic market for example through production efficiency, cost reduction and innovation. In addition, with many countries also committing themselves to the Paris Climate Agreement, government policies are increasingly embedding sustainability standards to achieve emission reduction goals. Such new environmental and social policies are then for example reflected in public procurement. 

The SDGs are a universal commitment to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure human well-being. South Africa has embedded the SDGs in terms of national development priorities. In South Africa, the National Development and the African Union’s Agenda 2063 guide the implementation of the SDGs. A key instrument to implement the SDGs in South Africa is the government’s Bio-economy Strategy, which has the vision for South Africa’s bio-economy to be a significant contributor to the country’s economy by 2030 in terms of the GDP. It is designed to create a world-class biotechnological system of innovation in the country, which is more responsive and more relevant to the needs of South Africans. Within the South African context, bio-economy encompasses, but not limited to, technological and non-technological usage of natural resources such as animals, plant biodiversity, micro-organisms and minerals to improve human health, address food security, enhance energy security and subsequently contribute to economic growth and improved quality of life.



The goals of the event “South African Initiative on Voluntary Sustainability Standards - Stakeholders’ Perspectives on Sustainable Development and Bio-economy” is to promote public awareness in South Africa on the potentials of VSS, engage and empower multiple stakeholders to support the implementation of SDGs as well as to initiate the momentum to establish a National Platform on VSS in South Africa. To achieve these goals, the event provides a platform for exchange among experts from industry, government, academia, and national standards bodies as well as representatives of international organisations, whose works have addressed the benefits and challenges of establishing and implementing VSS.



Due to limited capacity, registration is on a first come first serve basis. Registration is free of charge. When registering, please indicate whether you also wish to attend the capacity-building training on Sustainability Map and VSS on November 7 at 2PM. Upon registration, you agree that photographs and video-recordings will be taken.


Co-organized with:UNFSS, German Development Insitute, South African Bureau of Standards (SABS)
Ruby Lambert - siti.lambert@unctad.org
Tel: +41 22 91 788 30
Related Sites:
Covid-19 Advisory
Please consult the information on COVID-19 for meeting participants here.

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